Obama Seeks Common Ground With Big Business

Friday, 08 Mar 2013 11:15 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Since winning re-election in November, President Barack Obama has made a concerted effort to reach out to corporate America, holding more than a dozen conference calls with top business leaders and hosting several meetings at the White House, according to Politico.

Those who have participated in the recent calls include Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, John Engler of the Business Roundtable, Roger Altman of Evercore, Glenn Hutchins of Silver Lake, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and banking trade groups such as Financial Services Roundtable.

"The uptick is quite pronounced but well-received," one industry executive who has taken part in the calls and meetings told Politico.

"Now we’re talking about areas where there is more alignment vis-à-vis immigration reform and trying to fix our nation’s long term finances," said another.

Valerie Jarrett, a close friend and adviser to the president, is spearheading the outreach. In a statement to Politico, she said the White House is "deeply committed to engaging with the business community" to discuss "how we can continue to work together to create jobs, increase our global competitiveness and foster growth."

Economic adviser Gene Sperling and new Treasury Secretary Jack Lew have also been instrumental in fostering ties with the business community, noted Politico, with both taking part in a meeting with top industry officials and CEOs on March 1 to discuss the effects of the sequester.

Some of those involved in the meetings and calls say there will still be areas of disagreement. Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes told Politico that while the group looks forward to working with the administration, "it appears likely we will continue to disagree on issues like taxes, the need for entitlement reform and the flood of regulations that harm economic growth."

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